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Children in hospital get a surprise visit from Santa with help from BC Emergency Health Services and Helijet

BCEHS paramedic Lynn Byrne, Santa, an elf, and Carla Kovacs, Director of Client Relations for Helijet International
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VANCOUVER, B.C. – With only five more sleeps to go before his biggest night of the year, Santa Claus is once again making a special visit to hospitalized children who aren’t able to spend the holidays at home. 

With the help of BC Emergency Health Services and Helijet International, Santa, one of his most trusted elves and Lynn Byrne, a BCEHS Infant Transport Team paramedic, will be spreading Christmas cheer in two hospitals in the Lower Mainland today.

Santa and his crew had planned to travel via air ambulance, but Rudolph recommended they stay low to the ground due to the snowy weather—so they’ll be travelling by ground ambulance instead.

Santa’s itinerary begins with an afternoon visit to Surrey Memorial Hospital. Santa and his crew will also visit the Teck Acute Care Centre, a new landmark building for BC Children’s Hospital, for the first time, having received a personalized invitation from a young patient

“Every day, in every season, paramedics and dispatchers work tirelessly to serve communities across the province,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. ”This is a special time of year and thanks to this partnership between Helijet and BC Emergency Health Services, young patients will have the opportunity to meet Santa and experience the magic of the holidays during their stay in hospital.” 

“For the 13th straight year, Helijet is once again thrilled to provide Santa with his air ambulance ‘sleigh’ so his reindeer can rest up for their big run on Christmas Eve,” said Helijet President and CEO Danny Sitnam. “We’re very proud of our working relationship with BCEHS paramedics as we work together to provide 24/7 helicopter service for hundreds of critically ill patients across the province. Many of them are children, of course, and we are happy to help make this holiday season just a bit more special for them.”

ITT paramedics and air ambulance flight crews often meet young patients like these and their families during distressing medical emergencies. The annual air ambulance toy run with Santa provides them with a special opportunity to interact with some of those children and brighten their stays in hospital.

“It’s so rewarding to see the faces of these children when they learn Santa has made a special surprise trip just to come see them,” said Byrne. “I and my fellow paramedics at BC Emergency Health Services care for and transport these children day in and day out, and see the health challenges these brave patients and their families often face. I feel lucky to have been chosen to accompany Santa this year and help make the holidays just a bit better for these young patients.”

Helijet International is a Canadian-owned company and North America’s largest scheduled helicopter service carrying well over two million passengers in the past 30 years. In addition to its scheduled helicopter services, Helijet is a major service provider of dedicated medically equipped helicopters to the BC Air Ambulance Service of British Columbia. Helijet provides exclusive use helicopter and business jet services to world renowned Sport Fishing Resorts, public service and energy companies throughout the West Coast of British Columbia and Pacific North West.

BCEHS is responsible for the delivery and governance of pre-hospital emergency medical care and inter-facility patient transfer services through the BC Ambulance Service and the BC Patient Transfer Network. BCEHS is supported by the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). For more information, please visit  or follow us on Twitter @BC_EHS.

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Media contacts:

BC Emergency Health Services

Amy Robertson
Provincial Health Services Authority 

Helijet International

Trevor Pancoust
Pace Group

Surrey Memorial Hospital

Nafisa Abdulla
Fraser Health 

BC Children’s Hospital

Cara Christopherson
Provincial Health Services Authority
BC Ambulance Service; BC Children's Hospital; BCEHS; air ambulance; community outreach; helijet; Kids
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